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Cultivate Updates - March 2023

We hope that you are having a great 2023 so far! It has been a busy season for us and we can't believe it is almost Spring again. Here are a few of our highlights since the beginning of this year...

 




Love must be in the air! The first two months of this year have featured a veritable blizzard of pre-marriage counseling meetings and even our own son, Danny, is getting married this month. We are continually amazed at the opportunity God has given us to speak into the lives of young couples. Seven couples have completed SYMBIS with a mentor couple since this year began and more will begin the process in April.

For those of you who don’t know our story, we struggled in many ways over the first 14 years or so of our marriage. We did not receive adequate pre-marriage counseling and among other things did not know how to relate to each other well. We learned many things the hard way but God has redeemed our struggles and is now using them to benefit others.


One thing we share with each couple is a language we developed to help us communicate better. We call it, “This is what you said, but this is what I heard.” Often, the words that came out of my mouth did not seem to mean quite the same thing in Elise's mind as what I had intended and vice versa. Over time, by using this practice, we realized that many of our communication issues and even conflicts arose from simply misunderstanding each other. We encourage each couple we mentor to make sure they really know how to talk to each other and not jump to conclusions.

Please pray for these couples as they start their journey together. Please pray for all of Cultivate’s marriage mentors to have God’s wisdom as we seek to prepare them for lifelong love.

 



February was a month of questions! “If God is real, why did God allow my life to be the way that it is?… If God is real, why doesn’t He answer my prayers?… If God made heaven, who made hell?” These are just a few of the many questions that have come up in the past month from the young people we are working with. Behind each question is a questioner - an individual made in God's image but who often hasn't been treated as such. If you knew just one of these young people’s stories, you would not be surprised at all by these questions.

Such questions (and sometimes even animosity) don’t put us off. We know wrestling with hard questions is part of the process in coming into a relationship with Jesus. When we have answers, we share them. If we don’t have answers, we are honest. We love. We serve. We encourage. We gently point them to Jesus, and watch as He begins to tear down barriers. When spiritual eyes begin to open, it is a beautiful sight to see!


"Why won't God speak directly to me?" This seems to be the primary question of one young man I am currently having conversations with. This guy is devouring the Bible right now. He has read all of the Gospels and Acts over the last few weeks and had just read through the end of Romans 7 as of the last time we talked. He wants God to speak to him directly like a Moses burning bush or Paul Damascus road kind of experience. I had him read Hebrews 1:1-2 and pointed out that it says "in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son..." I said "when you read the words of Jesus in the Gospels, God is speaking to you. When you read your Bible God is speaking to you." He said, "but that means God is speaking to like everyone." I said, "yes, but not everyone is listening."


The last time we talked, he implied that only a few people saw Jesus alive. I took him to 1 Corinthians 15 and we reviewed Paul's list of specific eyewitnesses by name which also notes that "he appeared to over five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living." Paul was essentially saying, if you don't believe me, go and ask one of them. We reviewed what the gospel message is as stated by Paul in vs 3-4 of that same passage and then went to the book of Romans which he had just been reading. I pointed out that Romans 1:4 tells us that Jesus was "declared with power to be the Son of God by his resurrection from the dead." In other words, God has spoken to the whole world through the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus and He is speaking to us now!


I wanted to help him see that the kind of experience he wants is usually reserved for only a few, like the apostles. I told him that Jesus' disciples (minus Judas) were all sent out as apostles and Paul was the last apostle Jesus called. He said "What is an apostle?" I said "The word means 'sent one'." God's plan was for the gospel to come down to us through their message. That is what they were sent to do.


The conversation was ended abruptly (not by either of us). As he was walking off I said, "you need to decide if you are in." I believe God is indeed drawing this young man to himself. Why else would he be reading his Bible so voraciously? He is so close… Please pray this young man will have ears to hear and that the gospel will take root and bear fruit!

 


Cultivate is in its seventh year of existence. It is just crazy how time has flown by! The cumulative impact of this ministry and specifically COMPASS is best seen over the long haul in young adults we have worked with years earlier.

Michael has been a huge part of Cultivate since the very beginning. Each year, he has offered his mad cooking skills to help us with Easter Eggstravaganza, as well as other events. Through COMPASS a few years back, he discovered that God designed him with an aptitude for sequential reasoning, which involves creating structures and processes. Michael chose to pursue logistics as a career path, and this past year he was able to step fully into that field as an occupation.

Michael summed up his Cultivate experience this way, “The mentorship from Ken and Elise through Cultivate has truly been life changing. When I was frustrated and lost, they taught me invaluable skills on how to approach life with a design approach. From reframing my perspective when faced with a problem to implementing action through breaking it down into simpler tasks. I use the tools they’ve given me in my day-to-day life and to achieve long term goals. Through Cultivate I have gained a greater understanding of myself and my part in the world.”

Michael is loving the work involved with his new job and is growing in his faith walk with Jesus! We are grateful for the opportunity to invest in young people like him.


 

UPCOMING EVENTS...


MARCH 20 - On a personal note, our son Danny Kilgore and his fiancee Mary Thompson are getting married!


MARCH 25 - The annual Easter Eggstravaganza event will once again be held by the Foster Care Families of Coweta. Cultivate will be there providing and serving the lunch meal and assisting the families with their kids as they enjoy a big Easter egg hunt. If you would like to come and help serve you can RSVP here.


APRIL 21 - Cultivate will once again be a simulcast host location for the Secret Church event held by David Platt and Radical Ministries. Read more about that or register here.



 

THANK YOU!


Cultivate is committed to provide most of its services free of charge. This means our ability to continue to do what we do is wholly dependent on God raising up supporters who believe in this ministry and generously support this work financially.


So many of you already support Cultivate through your prayers and financial support. We cherish your continued support and cannot tell you how thankful we are for your partnership. If you aren't yet a Cultivate partner, we ask that you consider joining our support team.


The easiest way to give is to use our online platform, provided by PushPay. Click here or text the word "Cultivate" to 833-245-6481 from your mobile phone. You can also contact elise@cultivatenext.org for more information.







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